Instructables
Picture of Cola Can Battery
Cola can drinks are known to give you an energy boost, but what some people don't know is they can give you an electrical boost too. In this article we're going to show you how to make a cola can battery.


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Step 1: Materials Needed

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Materials:

  • A can of cola
  • A copper coin

Tools:

  • Can opener
  • Crocodile clips
  • Wire wool

Step 2: Cut Off Top

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Open your can of cola and pour the contents into a cup, put it to one side we'll be using it in awhile. Now using a can opener cut off the top of the can, put the top to one side. I'll show you a use for that in another article. Now clean and dry the inside of the can.

Step 3: Remove Plastic Coating

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The inside of the can has a protective plastic coating that we need to remove, so use your wire wool and get scrubbing. I found a way to speed this process up was to use a drill. Stuff a load of wire wool into the can and use a spade bit to rapidly turn it. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as you don't want to go through the can. Make sure you clear out any left over wire wool before you move on.

Step 4: Complete Battery Setup

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Pour the contents from the cup back into the can. Take one of your crocodile clips and attach it to your copper coin, then dip it into the drink. Attach another clip to the top of the cola can. If we take a reading we can see that we're producing some voltage.

Step 5: More Power

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To increase the voltage we can add a bit of salt, we can also connect our cans in series. Now we've got enough electricity to power a small LED.

Your not going to power your home anytime soon, but having a way to produce electricity from the things around you is always a cool skill.

Next we're going to show you how to get even more power out of your setup, with a small adjustment.
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forka1 month ago

i dont believe that it can charge ;d

sicotetion1 month ago

interesting, have you tried recharging the drain cleaner version of the battery??

i am assuming that the drain cleaner has sulfuric acid in it, which is used in lead-acid batteries.

doo da do2 months ago

Nice, may try it Doodado

friv3 doo da do1 month ago
creative
SexyTechLezy2 months ago

holy cow that is cool

mvillalpando2 months ago

Good Instructable! I'll have to try this experiment :)

By the way, how long does the power generate for?

Lorax981 year ago
Be careful with the drain cleaner, when reacting with the aluminum in the can, toxic chlorine gas and explosive hydrogen are released. It is good to know that some of us are still working on how to keep the world going in the event of disaster. Nice instructable!
where does the chlorine gas come from?
According to the National Institutes of Health's Household Products Database, the crystal form of DRANO is composed of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum. If your drain cleaner also contains bleach, it contains even more chlorine in each bleach molecule.

Chlorine is a part of most drain cleaners. Depending upon which you are using, there may be chlorine and/or hydrogen.

I'm sorry, but this makes no sense. Per your comment, Drano - in the bottle - contains aluminum, NaOH, Na2NO3 and NaCl, and is meant to be poured into copper pipes. The battery here contains aluminum and copper and Drano. There is nothing present that isn't in the on-label use of Drano. Why would it suddenly evolve Chlorine here?

clorine would be only be released when using salt chem formula (NaCl) thats where the chlorine would come from, but drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide) NaOH, doesnt have any chlorine, thus impossible for chlorine gas to be emmitted. only if u use hydrochloric acid, can chlorine gas be emitted.
Drain cleaner is not manufactured to medical or laboratory specifications. There are a lot of "may contain..." chemicals present. Let me know how it turns out.
Go Repairs (author)  Lorax981 year ago
Thanks for the advice, that's why I recommend if your going to attempt this (the drain cleaner part) you do it in a well ventilated place. Hopefully I'll do some survival/end of world type of stuff in the future. Thanks for leaving a comment.
also that drill bit you used would have got threw the side of that can it would have ripped your hand apart next time don't use a spade bit, get a wire brush attachment
Go Repairs (author)  wizard4nh31 year ago
Your more than fine to use a spade bit as long as your careful and take your time.
what would happen if you put mixed mentos inside of the can. would it generate more power or less.
what would happen if you put mixed mentos inside of the can. would it generate more power or less.
skylane2 months ago

So, when I park my truck, with the lights on, in front of the grocery store with the Radio Shack next door. I come out to find a dead battery.. ,.How many cans of cola and alligator clips will I need to jump start it? ;)

Ender3D skylane2 months ago

It will really come down to the amperage capacity of the "battery" you are using to jump start. I'm guessing that the Amps in this setup are relatively low. While to crank over your engine requires a large amount of amperage.

At a guess, I'm going to say more then is feasible for you to assemble.

moonsoup2 months ago

Yea I once put like 2 tbsp of powdered Lye in some water .. I then dissolved 8 rolls of tin foil in that jar of water.... It produces hydrogen which of course is explosive in quantity.

Be careful with lye and aluminum cans... good thinking on the plastic tray.

pk11942 months ago

Hello,

I have the question, how long would run a led with it ?

and how much current you can get out ?

froggie333z2 months ago

You can also use any kind of salt for the electrolyte, and maybe even things like bakingsoda, but that i don't know for certain.

froggie333z2 months ago

How long can you run a LED light off of these cola can batteries? Will it run for months or for a couple of days or hours? And maybe it would be an idea to find out a good kind of cap for this so that the liquid can't spill out but that any cases could perhaps escape or integrate into the cap.

cfoote72 months ago
Red Devil Lye is high purity sodium hydroxide. It is probably your best readily available drain cleaner that won't have unexpected additives, a few major problems though, hydrogen and water vapor are a very explosive fuel mix off put by this reaction, sparks are a potential risk, although unlikely in a well ventilated area, other risks are chemical spills, lye will burn you, it's used for dissolving flesh and fats in a saponification process for soap making. I don't like the idea of my fingers turning into soap, nobody wants to buy melted finger soap and the pain involved in the process isn't appealing either (think fight club) . Lastly, part of that reaction involves dissolving the aluminum involved, meaning spills are likely when the container used is being ate away at. Very cool though, I was not aware that process would accelerate the electrolytic process, makes sense though. Cool experiment but the drain thing is dangerous, have a gas mask, rubber gloves, and goggles on hand. Don't preform on a surface you can't afford to have destroyed and lots of ventilation.

Also, im a soapmaker by hobby so I am aware of what I'm saying. Fun experiment, put a tablespoon of lye in a glass bottle, roll up little balls of aluminum foil and drop in bottle, take a balloon and put about a cup of water and quickly pop the balloon over the opening. Floats better than helium with the bonus of being explosive like a zeppelin.
Raphango2 months ago

Cool! =D

Great instructable, my kid swould love to try this.
Well documented, nice scienceproject for schoolkids.
Even my kids (youngest 7+) would be able to execute your instructable, good work.

This was my version of can batteries that I did years back.

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Looks sweet, i like the use of skewers and copper tubing in your array

Hysenburg much?
Creeper346511 months ago
so what produces the electricity? is it the acid or the chemicals?
Go Repairs (author)  Creeper346511 months ago
Well in the first part with the cola it's citric acid and the more powerful reaction at the end is from sodium hydroxide.
isn't the final picture breaking bad sytle?
Go Repairs (author)  charlie-lee-rhee1 year ago
Yeah, well spotted. :)
jvoutselas1 year ago
Srry but do u need to use wool
Go Repairs (author)  jvoutselas1 year ago
No, you could use something else to take the plastic coat off - like sandpaper.
Bowtie411 year ago
I like it.I was wondering with all the comments about eating through the can.Cans have some sort of lining(plastic,epoxy,whatever)to protect the contents from reacting with the metal,right?
Go Repairs (author)  Bowtie411 year ago
Yes the inside of the can does have a plastic coating that you have to remove (as shown in the video and step 3 of this article).
I guess what I meant was would it be feasible to put a piece of aluminum in the can so it doesn't eat through the can and make a possibly dangerous mess.Does anyone have any idea how long it takes the Draino to eat through,to prepare for the mess?Maybe use a energy drink can,they are usually thicker.
Go Repairs (author)  Bowtie411 year ago
You could swop the can for a plastic or glass container, just remember to keep the lid off and do it in a well ventilated area. As for how long it will take to eat through the can - I don't know as I didn't check. But I did noticed it was making a mess of the coin.
backscan1 year ago
Hmm I wonder how well this would work with a potash solution
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